Cheering for a friend in World Series


Baseball, to me, is still the great American pastime.
So many of my memories from childhood revolve around playing baseball in the side yard with my sisters and brother or fielding a team with lots of cousins in the wide open grassy area near my Aunt Dee’s pond.
On those rare and wonderful getaway overnight visits to my Aunt Dee’s, I often watched Cleveland Indians baseball with my cousins and I became a fanatic fan along with the best of them.
Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed that I would one day be watching the World Series, cheering on a player that we know personally.
This past week was a thrill beyond measure as we watched Sean Casey play for the Detroit Tigers. He was stellar, hitting incredibly well, including two home runs. It was magnificent.
How we met. Sean was a single young man, playing in the minor leagues, when we first came to know him. He had not yet finished college when he landed a starting position with the Akron Aeros, a minor league Cleveland Indians team.
Caroline was hospitalized at Akron Children’s Hospital when Sean came to visit, something he did simply because he wanted to. He brought baseball cards and a warm smile.
The first day, Caroline was too sick to talk, so he politely moved on. I was surprised when he came back the next day, and the next. He quietly told me that he had been praying for my daughter.
He told Caroline he had learned she had a brother. He said, “I have a sister and sometimes I was kind of mean to her. I feel really bad about that now. So, if your brother is ever kind of mean to you, tell him I said to be nice!”
He sat and talked to Caroline as if they had known each other forever. He then surprised us with front-row tickets to watch him play in the Akron stadium, as long as we could get permission from her doctor.
Dream come true. We were there, but Sean was not. That very day, he had been called up to the majors, his life-long dream. He played for the Cleveland Indians that night.
I wrote him a thank-you note for the tickets, never dreaming we would hear back from him. To make a long story short, we not only heard back from him, but he invited us to various cities as his major league career took shape and were later honored to be guests at his wedding.
During the playing of the World Series, Sean and Mandi’s oldest son, Andrew, celebrated his fifth birthday. We have his birthday marked on our calendar, along with all of our nieces and nephews.
Cort, especially, was excited for Sean to play in the biggest game of them all. He not only watched the games, but taped them all. It was such a thrill to see Sean batting so well, including two home runs. We were pulling for the Detroit Tigers all the way!
Pictures. I have pictures of my kids with Sean, sipping milkshakes, playing video baseball in Sean’s apartment, Sean hugging them as he gives them each a signed bat from his personal collection. Each memory is held dear in the heart, the joy of knowing this fine man a blessing to be treasured.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.